There are countless articles and talks about the power of “asking”. As engineers, we’re used to being the people who are asked questions. However, it’s also important for us to learn the skill of asking. Asking can be the key to opening opportunities that may not be visible at a given time.
Steve Jobs has proven this to be true. When he was only twelve years old, he simply picked up the phone and called Bill Hewlett. He asked him if he had any spare parts for a frequency counter he was working. Bill Hewlett not only gave him the spare parts, he also gave Jobs, his first tech job working on a frequency counter assembly line. This was his first big break, and it all started with him “asking”.
Taking the initiative
So, how does one ask? It is a simple question, but it isn’t so simple for people who are more passive than others. For many, the mere action of asking for assistance, help, or advice can be too frightening, too degrading, or embarrassing in their point of view. That is why it is important to understand that there is no shame in asking. Asking opens doors to new opportunities. If you don’t ask, the answer to all your questions will always be NO.
Start by taking down questions during meetings, and ask them after the person presenting is done. If you are too shy, send them an email of your questions, but it is always better to voice out your questions in the meeting itself. This will allow the person presenting to explain the topic more, and to let the audience understand the topic better.
When you are sending an urgent email to a company or client, make it a habit to call them as well. This will help you gain more confidence.
During meetings with the client, or with new companies, offer your business card and ask for theirs. Connections and the relationships you form with different organizations are important.
Waiting for nothing
Don’t get into the habit of waiting around for something to arrive. ASK.